Water Minister Dave Kelly has today declared a water deficiency covering the Ardler Road area, south of Newdegate, in the Shire of Lake Grace, and announced the State Government will begin carting water tomorrow (December 5) for emergency water supplies for animal welfare needs.
The official declaration follows an application from the Shire on behalf of seven farmers in the area. A declaration is made as a last resort after continued dry conditions due to climate change have depleted on-farm and State Government managed community water supplies.
The declaration will see the State Government cart an estimated 920,000 litres of water each week to a new tank at the Ardler Road dam site, reducing the distance farmers need to travel to source emergency livestock water. Water will be supplied from a number of sources, including a disused scheme in Newdegate and other areas in Lake Grace.
Water carting arrangements are being managed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Water Corporation.
This is the second area within the Shire of Lake Grace and the fourth water deficiency to be declared in Western Australia this year, as dry conditions continue in the south-west of the State due to climate change. Water deficiencies have also been declared in the shires of Ravensthorpe and Kent.
DWER is liaising with local government authorities and farmers in other dryland areas to monitor their on-farm water storage and water requirements, and encourages Community Water Supply Program grant applications in areas of need.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Due to the impacts of climate change, this year is tracking to be the second driest year on record for Lake Grace. To date just 193.4 mm of rainfall has been received, compared to the average of 384 mm received between 2012 and 2017.
“The McGowan Government cares about our WA farming communities and the welfare of animals is a priority.
“Without the State Government declaring a water deficiency and carting water to this area, some farmers would have had to travel up to 60 kilometres to access water for stock.
“In response to the ongoing impacts of climate change, in the past 18 months, the McGowan Government has invested more than $1.1 million developing and upgrading 18 community water supplies in the south-east Wheatbelt.
“This compares to the previous government’s investment of just $780,000 in the whole Wheatbelt region over their full eight-and-a-half-year term.”
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Water availability for livestock continues to be a challenge in areas affected by below average winter rainfall.
“The top priority is to ensure the welfare of livestock and these water deficiency declarations will help farmers to access emergency livestock water supplies.
“We are continuing to closely monitor seasonal conditions and offering support where needed.”